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Team Coco or bust

by Tyler Wilson
| April 23, 2010 9:00 PM

Let Jay Leno have his derivative "Tonight Show." Conan O'Brien is too big for TV anyway.

O'Brien's "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour" visited the INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane last weekend, and the comedian delivered two hours of classic "Late Night" bits, off-kilter musical numbers and more than a few jabs at the Lilac City.

The sold out crowd was even given a few spins on the "Walker Texas Ranger Lever," where O'Brien presents a series of random, hilarious scenes from the Chuck Norris television series. Although for vague legal reasons, O'Brien referred to the classic bit as the "Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle."

While Coco more than defied expectations, the evening got off to a slow start. Twenty minutes after the scheduled 7:30 p.m. start time, a solo comedian/DJ act indulged in an endless parade of substandard musical parodies. After an exhausting set, the crowd suffered through another 15-minute wait. Finally, around 8:30 p.m., Conan's old band (minus drummer Max Weinberg) finally got the party going.

Conan, sporting a fantastic orange beard and a Gonzaga Bulldogs jersey, immediately blasted Riverfront Park's giant red wagon, then lightly ribbed his former bosses at NBC. From there, Conan did it all, from riffing on his electric guitar on the Cake version of "I Will Survive," to playfully bantering with old sidekick Andy Richter.

Longtime Conan fans were also treated to a hilarious taped bit with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (harping on Spokane, of course) and an appearance by the pervert now legally known as the Self-Pleasuring Panda. By the time the party ended at around 10:30, Team Coco was given a satisfying dose of what we've all been missing since the comedian was forced off the air earlier this year, Most of us, however, were wishing the evening would never end.

Just days before his appearance in Spokane, it was announced that O'Brien would host a new late night talk show on cable network TBS beginning this November. The network should be a good fit for Conan, especially since TBS attracts an audience about 20 years younger than the fogies who still watch Leno's unfunny "Tonight Show."

For whatever inexplicable reason, Conan didn't work at 11:35 p.m. Viewers of Leno's program clearly don't understand the manic wad of energy that is Conan O'Brien. And frankly, that's fine with me. Let NBC have their big-chinned whiner.

I have and always will be with Coco.

Tyler Wilson can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com. Read more reviews and pop culture commentaries at www.NormdogEntertainment.com.

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